A 10,000-flight hour certificate was presented by Markus Steinke, Managing Director of the Eurocopter UK Ltd. affiliate, to Doug MacKay, Unit Executive Office at RAF Benson during a ceremony held at the Helitech helicopter exhibition in Duxford. They were joined by Chief Inspector Donna Pierce from Hertfordshire Police; and Sergeant Richie Barker, Deputy Unit Executive Officer at the RAF Henlow base.
The Chiltern Air Support Unit – which provides operational air support to the Thames Valley Police, the Bedfordshire Police and the Hertfordshire Constabulary – currently operates two EC135s, with one based at RAF Benson and the other at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire. The RAF Benson location is staffed by Thames Valley Police officers, while the RAF Henlow operation brings together officers from Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
The two EC135s have demonstrated excellent performance and operability levels for air support operations to the five counties of the three involved consortium police forces – which cover an area of 3,270 square miles and 3.5 million people. On average, the two helicopters log some 2,200 flying hours per year, performing up to 6,000 individual missions. The services they provide range from assisting with searches for offenders and missing people to evacuating casualties.
“We are very proud to support the achievement of this valuable customer, and we will continue developing our products in order to fulfill its future expectations and further contribute to the enhancement of the law enforcement services networks in the country,” Steinke said.
The EC135 incorporates the latest in helicopter technology and innovation. It is powered by two turbine engines for enhanced safety, and operates at speeds of up to 254 km./hr. with an average range of 635 kilometers.
With more than 1000 EC135 delivered in 15 years, Eurocopter’s worldwide success with this aircraft is based on this rotary-wing aircraft’s intuitive handling, extremely high maneuverability and high availability of 98 percent. Other features of the EC135 are its hingeless main rotor head and shrouded Fenestron® tail rotor, which significantly reduce the level of noise and vibrations in flight. (External noise is 7 dB lower than the limit prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation).
The EC135 also is favored for its low operating and maintenance costs, high availability and durability, and above all its versatility – which enable the helicopter to operate on such diverse missions as law enforcement, emergency medical services, surveillance of offshore wind turbines, the support of oil drilling platforms, and passenger transport.
Eurocopter UK Ltd. is headquartered in Oxford, with additional bases in Dublin (Ireland), Belfast (Northern Ireland), Hawarden (Wales) and Aberdeen (Scotland). Through this fully-owned subsidiary, Eurocopter enjoys a reputation for innovation, high quality and customer service. Having achieved an exemplary performance in the customization, distribution and support of Eurocopter products for civil and public service customers during the past 30 years, Eurocopter UK also provides state-of-the-art services to the oil and gas industry and the UK armed forces.
The Ministry of Defence relies on 100 Eurocopter helicopters for transport, training and special forces missions, and has awarded the Puma Upgrade Programme to Eurocopter UK. With over 450 helicopters in service in the British Isles, Eurocopter is the leading supplier of turbine helicopters in the United Kingdom.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defense and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 17,500 people. In 2010, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s number one helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market with a turnover of 4.8 billion Euros, orders for 346 new helicopters and a 49 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.